Black and White Cat Breeds: Choosing Your Own Formally Dressed Pet

black and white cats
Martha Harvey
Written by Martha Harvey

Cats with black and white coloring are some of the most adorable and elegant-looking cats you’ll ever come across. And if you’re looking for a cat that always looks stylish, won’t you agree that black and white cat breeds simply look absolutely fashionable?

The black and white coat pattern has many variations, and it can be seen in several cat breeds. You can get a classic black and white tabby with a striped, swirling, patched, or dotted fur, or you can get a tuxedo cat. Either way, you’re sure to get a pet that simply looks dashing and charming.

In this article, we’ll first talk about how cats get their black and white coat patterns. We’ll then share with you some interesting facts about black and white cats. We’ll also give you a list of cat breeds that are likely to have black and white coat coloring.

The Genetics of Feline Coat Colors

black and white cat lying

How your pet’s coat will turn out will be affected by your cat’s genes. There are basically seven types of genes. Depending on how these genes are combined, your cat may turn out to have a solid black color or your pet may get a uniquely marked coat of several colors.

  • A for Agouti. This is the gene that determines whether your pet will have a ticked fur or not. If your cat has a dominant A allele, then her fur will be banded, and she’ll likely have a tabby pattern.

  • B for Black. Eumelanin is the pigment that is responsible for making a cat’s fur black. The production of this pigment is dependent on whether your pet has the B gene or not. If your pet gets a B allele from one of her parents, then your cat will have black fur.

  • D for Dense. The D gene controls whether your cat will have a full-pigmented dense coat color. If your pet has the recessive gene, then her coat color will be diluted and pale in coloring. Cats with gray, cream, and tan coat colors have the recessive gene which is why they have diluted coat colors.

  • O for Orange. The O gene is a masking gene, meaning that if your cat has the dominant O gene, then it won’t matter if your pet has the dominant B or D gene; your pet will always be orange. The O gene masks and covers up all other coat colors so that only the orange color shows.

  • S for Spots. For those interested in tuxedo cats, the dominant S gene is a very important gene. It’s the one responsible for the white spotting in tuxedo cats. However, if your pet has the recessive gene, your cat won’t have any white spotting at all anywhere on her coat.

  • T for Tabby. If your pet has the agouti gene, then that will combine with the T gene to control how your pet’s tabby markings will come out. If the T gene is dominant, then your cat will have a striped tabby coat. If your pet has the dominant T and recessive a, then your pet will have an all-agouti coat such as what you will find on an Abyssinian.

  • W for White. Just like the O gene, the W gene is also a masking gene. The difference is that if your pet has a dominant W gene, then her fur will be pure white, with no other marking or coloring, no matter what other coat genes your pet may have. The recessive w gene, however, will allow all other coat coloring or marking to be fully expressed.

The Most Interesting Things About Black and White Cats

black and white cat lying on floor

Black and white cats are simply amazing, not only because of their unique appearance but also because they’re so mysterious and interesting. Here are some fun facts you need to know about black and white cats.

  • The black and white coat pattern in cats is sometimes referred to as pied cats, magpie, and even patched.

  • In the show ring, a black and white cat will fall under the bi-color division.

  • If your pet has white fur but her ears and tail are black, she is said to have “van” markings. A van pattern on the coat means there are markings of a different color on the head and tail.

  • If a white-furred cat has a black patch on her back, the coat pattern is called a “cap and saddle.”

  • It’s very rare to have a cat with a solid white body and an entirely black head. This pattern is called Mohrenkopf or Moorish-head.

  • It’s also rare to have a black cat with a cumberband or band. This pattern refers to a band of white fur wrapping around your black cat’s midsection.

  • If your cat looks like a skunk with a white stripe down her black back, it’s referred to as the Thai pattern.

  • For white cats with a large black patch covering their shoulders and going down their backs, it’s called a blanket or a mantle.

  • Vitiligo is a condition that causes cobwebs of white fur to spread over your cat’s body, eventually turning your pet’s coat completely white.

  • For black cats with white markings only on their toes, the coat pattern is referred to as tips.

  • If the white markings on your black cat cover her toes up to her ankle, your cat is said to have mittens.

  • If the white markings go a little higher but below her knees, the pattern is referred to as socks, as if your black cat is wearing white socks.

  • Your black cat is wearing stockings if the white fur covers her entire feet and goes up to above her knees.

  • A locket is one of the cutest markings on a black cat. It happens when your black pet has a dot of white fur on her chest.

  • If your black pet has white fur on her paws, chest, as well as on her belly, the pattern is called tuxedo. And if your tuxedo cat also has a small black spot right inside the patch of white on her chest, it’s called a bowtie!

The tuxedo coat pattern is one of the many forms of bicolor or piebald feline coat patterns.

Tuxedo cats are genetically black. However, because they have the white spotting gene, the black fur is masked with white in certain parts of their bodies. The expression of the white spotting gene is graded from 1 to 10. A low grade means that the white markings are minimal, whereas a grade of 10 means the cat’s coat is completely masked in white.

Tuxedo cats generally fall under grades 1-4, which means that less than 40% of their coat is masked in white. A medium grade cat will have 40%-60% of her coat masked in white, whereas a high-grade cat falling under grades 6-10 will have over 60% of her coat covered in white.

Tuxedo cats are called as such because they look they’re wearing a tuxedo. In some cases, though, they’re also referred to as jellicle or billicart cats. The tuxedo coat pattern can occur in both male and female cats.

Some of the most famous tuxedo cats include the cartoon characters Sylvester, Felix The Cat, and Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat.

15 Breeds of Cats With Black And White Coats

The black and white coat pattern is actually a common coat coloring, and there are several feline breeds that allow for this type of coat colors. To help you choose your black and white pet, here are some of the most popular cat breeds with black and white coat colors.

#1: American Curl

black and white American Curl

Graceful and lean, these cats are named after their curled ears. This peculiar characteristic is a result of an unusual but cute mutation. American Curl cats are people-loving, affectionate, curious, and very playful. Other coat colors for this breed include blue, red, cream, and lilac, and their coat patterns vary.

#2: American Shorthair

black and white American Shorthair

A robust cat with an expressive face, the American Shorthair is known for their hearty build and game personality. If you’ve got an American Shorthair, then you’ve got a very pleasant companion who’s quite playful and yet undemanding. American Shorthair cats come in various coat colors and patterns.

#3: British Shorthair

black and white British Shorthair

Short-legged but full-bodied, British Shorthair cats are undemanding, mellow, and yet very intelligent. They’re easygoing, loyal, and calm. British Shorthair coat colors vary from blue, brown, silver, cream, to red, as well as black and white.

#4: Cornish Rex

black and white Cornish Rex

Long and lean, the Cornish Rex is sometimes referred to as the feline greyhound. Cornish Rex cats are very friendly, and they simply look adorable with their curly hair. They might get talkative at times, but they’re also intelligent and affectionate. Other coat colors for this breed include cream, blue, and chocolate.

#5: Devon Rex

black and white Devon Rex

Just like their Cornish cousins, Devon Rex cats also have curly hair. These cats often look like pixies, and with their big round eyes and very small pupils, they often look surprised. Devon Rex cats are affectionate and friendly. They can have almost any color pattern.

#6: Exotic Shorthair

black and white Exotic Shorthair

A true lap cat, the Exotic Shorthair looks similar to a Persian Cat, except that the Exotic has soft and dense short hair. They’re very loyal, quiet, sweet, and peaceful companions. Aside from black and white, Exotic Shorthair coat colors include blue, chocolate, red, lilac, and silver.

#7: Japanese Bobtail

black and white Japanese Bobtail

Medium-sized and muscular, Japanese Bobtail cats are friendly cats with powder-puff tails. Extremely intelligent and highly trainable, Japanese Bobtail cats are playful and always full of energy. These cats often have van markings on their head and tail, and their coat colors may include black, white, blue, tan, red, and brown.

#8: Maine Coon

black and white Maine Coon

Big-boned and with solid muscles, the Maine Coon is one of the largest domestic cat breeds. Outgoing and loving, Maine Coon cats can sometimes be vocal, but they make up for it with their sweet displays of affection. These extra large cats are quite intelligent and independent. They come in a variety of coat colors and patterns.

#9: Munchkin

black and white Munchkin

Undoubtedly one of the cutest cat breeds with their extremely short legs, Munchkin cats sport a silky and plush coat. These agile and playful cats are smart and yet easygoing. Coat colors for this breed include red, blue, lilac, chocolate, and fawn.

#10: Manx

black and white Manx

These cute cats come in varying levels of taillessness. They’re friendly and hardy, as well as loyal, playful, and intelligent. Manx cats are very protective, and they’re extremely great companions for children. Manx cat coat colors include black, white, blue, brown, cream, and silver.

#11: Norwegian Forest Cat

black and white Norwegian Forest Cat

Bred to withstand the harsh Scandinavian winters, Norwegian Forest Cats have waterproof double coats that come in almost all colors and patterns. Well-muscled and sturdy, these cats are very lively, curious, and playful. Norwegian Forest Cats are quite social and intelligent, as well as active and sweet.

#12: Oriental

black and white Oriental

Both the shorthair and longhair breeds may have black and white coat colors. Other colors for this breed include lavender, cinnamon, cream, chestnut, and blue. With their chiseled head shape, Oriental cats look exotic, especially with their long and lean bodies. These cars are active, outgoing, playful, curious, and very intelligent.

#13: Persian

black and white Persian

One of the most popular breeds, Persian cats look adorable and cute with their snub nose, plump body, and huge eyes. These cats are known for their quiet and melodious voices. Sedate, loyal, and affectionate, Persian cats have long glossy hair.

There are various colors and coat patterns available among Persian cats. In fact, many Persian cat breeders specialize in certain coat colors or patterns. With Persian Cats, certain personality traits and physical characteristics are associated with specific coat color or pattern.

For instance, tabby Persian cats are considered extroverts. Silver and golden Persian cats have green or blue-green eyes and black paw pads. Black and white Persian cats fall under the bi-color division, and they may have van markings.

#14: Scottish Fold

black and white Scottish Fold

With their ears folded forward and downward, Scottish Fold cats have a very unique and charming appearance. Known for their playfulness and loyalty, these cats are affectionate, undemanding, and intelligent. Coat colors are available on black, white, silver, red, cream, and blue. Scottish Fold cats may also have straight ears.

#15: Siberian

black and white Siberian cat

Quiet and curious, Siberian cats are playful, easygoing, affectionate, and very much family-oriented. These well-muscled cats enjoy the outdoors, and they’re even known to love playing with water. Their thick glamorous coat may come in various colors and patterns.

Wrap Up

black and white cat sitting

There’s no doubt that cats with black and white coat patterns look simply amazing. Do you have a certain black and white cat breed that you would recommend for first-time cat parents? Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions. Also, check out our article on tuxedo cat names so you’ll know what to call your black and white cat once you’ve adopted one.

About the author
Martha Harvey
Martha Harvey

Martha Harvey is a skilled veterinarian and a member of American Veterinary Medical Association from Greeley, Colorado. She has 20 years experience of working in Animal Hospital. Martha loves all of her patients, but her favorite one is the Russian Blue cat Stitch, who lives with her.